Online Encyclopedia

SOMNATH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 394 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SOMNATH, an ancient decayed city of Kathiawar in the province of Bombay, India. Pop. (19o1), 8341. It is situated on a bay of the Arabian Sea. The port, which is called Verawal, is distinct from the city proper (Deva-Pattan, Somnath-Pattan, or Prabhas). The latter occupies a prominence on the south side of the bay, is surrounded by massive fortifications, and retains in its ruins and numerous tombs many traces of its former greatness as a commercial port. But the city was most famous for the temple just outside its walls in which stood the great idol or rather columnar emblem of Siva called Somnath (Moon's lord), which was destroyed by Mahmfid of Ghazni. The famous " Gates of Somnath,” which were supposed to have been carried off by Mahmud to Ghazni, had probably no connexion with Somnath. They are built of deodar (II ft. in height and 91 in width) and are richly carved in geometric Saracenic patterns. The gates were attached to the building covering Mahmud's tomb at Ghazni until their removal to India, under Lord Ellenborough's orders, on the evacuation of Afghanistan in 1842. They are now contained in the arsenal at Agra.
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